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Product Reviews: Ameritage Cases

Product Reviews: Ameritage Cases

by R.M. Mottola

Originally published in American Lutherie #68, 2001 and Big Red Book of American Lutherie Volume Six, 2013

Ameritage Cases

My friend and mentor Jim Mouradian of Mouradian Guitars is a clever guy. He builds a thoroughly modern electric bass called the Reality. It has a trim upper horn and swoopy waist cut that you would never confuse for a ’50s-styled Fender Jazz bass. But if you were to take just the outline of the Fender and lay it over the outline of Jim’s bass, you’d notice an interesting thing. The outline of the Reality is identical to that of the Jazz in a few places, and in the places where it is different, it is always smaller. Thus Jim’s instrument fits perfectly snug inside an off-the-shelf aftermarket Jazz bass case. This detail gives Jim a lot of options when it comes to cases. Like I said, he’s a clever guy.

Those of us who build instruments for which “standard” cases are not available have to have cases custom made. Some builders need custom cases simply because they don’t want their instruments seen in anything less. There are a number of custom case makers. I’d like to share my experiences with one of them. Ameritage Carrying Cases is the musical instrument division of GWW Inc., a manufacturer that makes cases for just about anything. I found them via their website and asked for quotes for four cases for acoustic-electric basses I was building. I knew that custom cases would be needed for these, and I knew they would fit into standard Jazz bass cases but would rattle around inside. This last bit of information turns out to be kind of important. You can look at an instrument case as having two major components — the outer hard shell, and the padding between the shell and the instrument. If a manufacturer has to custom build the shell, then you are looking at one expensive case. But if they can use one of their existing shells, then the only thing that is unique for your case is the padding, and that makes for a more reasonable price. My instruments would fit into the standard rectangular electric-bass case shell.

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